Relics in City of Mist TTRPG
The City of Mist tabletop RPG is full of legends that come to life within a misty metropolis. While most of those legends manifest through people known as Rifts, some legends manifest in the City as magical items known as Relics. These magic items are a bit different than the +1 swords you may be used to in other RPG’s. Each Relic channels a story, which means it comes packaged with its own history, abilities, and sometimes its own desires.
In today’s video, we’re going to take a closer look at Relics within City of Mist, including what they are and how you can use them in your campaign.
What are Relics?
Mythology is full of legendary people, but there are also countless artifacts that are legendary in-and-of themselves. The sword Excalibur from Arthurian legend, the genie’s lamp from Arabian myth, and Thor’s hammer Mjolnir from Norse mythology are all examples of artifacts that are just as famous–if not moreso than–the people who wielded them. And that’s not even getting into the sheer number of magical books that permeate mythology!
In this same tradition, Relics are objects gifted with magical powers. These Relics can look like ancient artifacts, but more often than not their form is twisted by the Mist into a more mundane appearance. For example, the crown of Hades could look like a crown, or it could look like a baseball cap.
Relics follow the same rules as Rifts when it comes to magic. In order for a person to be magical in City of Mist, they have to be channeling a specific Mythos, and Relics are no different. In fact, Relics are also Rifts.
What makes things interesting is that Relics don’t have to exclusively be Rifts of magical objects. They can also be Rifts of legendary people. Imagine an antique spyglass possessed by the Mythos of Long John Silver, or a corncob pipe that channels the Mythos of Sherlock Holmes. This small detail opens up the world of Relics to even more possibilities, which means even more freedom is given to you when you’re creating them.
Playing a Relic User
Creating a Relic user is mechanically the same as creating any other Rift, although there are quite a few narrative differences. In order to play a Relic user, all you need to do is pick out the Relic themebook during character creation. From there, you fill it out like any other themebook by choosing power tags, weakness tags, and writing a Mystery that’s centered around the Relic.
When creating a Relic user, think about how your character came into contact with the Relic. Is it an ancient artifact passed down through many generations? Or is it a more mundane object your character happened to come across? Whichever the case, your character’s awakening to the magical world is usually through coming into contact with this Relic.
You should also be thinking about the relationship between your character and the Relic they wield. The Relic themebook is unique in that the Mythos and its abilities are attached to the object, not the person. Relics also have a degree of awareness, so even if they can’t move or speak, they can still influence their wielder toward fulfilling their destiny.
Let’s say you’re wielding the sledgehammer relic of Mjolnir. Is your character the Rift of Thor, reunited with their signature weapon? Or are they the Rift of Mjolnir, and their body is just another extension of that Mythos? Or are they just a regular person, and their identity is at risk of being consumed by the Relic itself? These are all dynamics you could play out in a City of Mist character, and you can even leave the answer open during character creation in order to find out during play.
Relics in the City
You can create a character with a Relic, but your crew can also come across Relics during the game. I personally love using Relics in my campaigns because they’re so versatile. A Relic can be the macguffin your characters are trying to locate to solve the case, or it could just be an extra element thrown in for the fun of it. You can also use Relics as rewards, like giving out magic items in other RPG’s.
To represent a Relic, MC’s have a few options. If the Relic is going to be an obstacle to the crew, you can represent it as a Danger Profile with its own spectrums and custom moves. One of my favorites is the Flaming Sword of Eden, which now stands guard in an Old Quarter museum protecting the other artifacts inside. Museum guards are one thing, but a floating flaming sword? Now that’s security!
If the Relic is beneficial to the crew, there are two other ways you can go about it. If you want to keep things simple, you can represent the Relic as a story tag which gives a +1 bonus or -1 penalty to rolls, just like any other story tag.
But if you want to give the Relic more abilities and drawbacks, consider making a Relic a theme kit. We go into a lot more depth in our previous video about theme kits, but to sum it up, a Relic theme kit provides players with a blueprint to make a Relic extra theme. A Relic extra theme can grow alongside the player characters’ development, and can even become one of their permanent themes at the end of story arc.
That said, keep in mind that every Relic has a Mythos attached to it, and that might keep it from bonding with certain users. Most Relics only allow a single person to wield it effectively, but even more ‘cooperative’ Relics just may not mesh well with certain Rifts. If your character is the Rift of Medusa, then they probably won’t react well to the Relic of Perseus’s sword.
If you want to add a random element to Relic bonding, consider this optional rule I use in my own campaigns. When a PC picks up a new Relic, have them roll +Logos, just like in Stop. Holding. Back. On a complete success, hand them the Relic theme kit. But on a mixed success or a failure, have the Mythos of the PC and the Mythos of the Relic collide into an explosion of magical feedback. Maybe the PC has to burn tags on their original Mythos themes, or maybe the Relic actively hurts the PC whenever they use it. Either way, there’s a lot of room to get creative.
If you want to see some of the Relics the City of Mist has to offer, consider picking up the expansion Shadows & Showdowns which features theme kits for Relics like the Sledgehammer of Mjolnir or the Glowstick of the Revolution! You can also find more Relics scattered about the cases in Nights of Payne Town.
Did you encounter an awesome Relic in your own campaign? Let us know in the comments, on social media, or on the City of Mist Discord! Until then, have fun!